Marantz SA-1 SACD player Measurements

Sidebar 3: Measurements

I performed a full set of measurements on the SA-1 using CD data, then repeated a select few of the tests using Sony's "tentative" test SACD. The Marantz's maximum output level from CD was 2.363V unbalanced and 4.72V balanced, both above the CD Standard's 2V RMS. From SACD, the maximum level from the balanced outputs was lower, 4.41V. The XLRs were wired with pin 3 hot, the opposite of the AES standard, and so inverted absolute polarity. The unbalanced outputs did not invert polarity. The output impedance was consistent over most of the audioband, at 99 ohms unbalanced and 198 ohms balanced, rising to 104.5 ohms and 209 ohms, respectively, at 20Hz. Error correction was excellent, the player coping with gaps in the CD data of up to 1mm in length without audible glitches.

The frequency response was identical from both sets of outputs. Fig.1 shows the unbalanced response at -12dBFS, with and without de-emphasis; the curves overlay exactly, implying minimal error. The slightly higher source impedance in the low bass gave rise to a very slight rolloff (-1dB at 9Hz) with a low 600 ohm loading. This can be seen in fig.2, which shows the balanced response. Crosstalk was very slightly higher from the balanced outputs and in the R-L direction (fig.3). It was basically buried in the noise floor over most of the audioband.

Fig.1 Marantz SA-1, unbalanced CD frequency response with (top) and without (bottom) de-emphasis at -12dBFS (right channel dashed, 0.5dB/vertical div.).

Fig.2 Marantz SA-1, balanced CD frequency response at -12dBFS into 100k ohms (top) and 600 ohms (bottom) (right channel dashed, 0.5dB/vertical div.).

Fig.3 Marantz SA-1, channel separation (from top to bottom): R-L, balanced; R-L, unbalanced; L-R, balanced; L-R, unbalanced. (10dB/vertical div.)